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Romano-British farmstead and medieval field system 100m south west of Bell Nook

A Scheduled Monument in Warcop, Cumbria

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Latitude: 54.5589 / 54°33'31"N

Longitude: -2.3792 / 2°22'45"W

OS Eastings: 375574.5549

OS Northings: 518245.290952

OS Grid: NY755182

Mapcode National: GBR CHTQ.QK

Mapcode Global: WH931.FN8Z

Entry Name: Romano-British farmstead and medieval field system 100m south west of Bell Nook

Scheduled Date: 29 October 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1018597

English Heritage Legacy ID: 27830

County: Cumbria

Civil Parish: Warcop

Traditional County: Westmorland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cumbria

Church of England Parish: Warcop St Columba

Church of England Diocese: Carlisle


The monument includes the earthworks and buried remains of a Romano-British
farmstead within which is a small later medieval field system. It is located
on a flat shelf on a gently sloping hillside to the west of Hayber Beck 100m
south west of Bell Nook sheepfold, and includes a sub-oval enclosure
containing hut circles which has latterly been subdivided and reused as a
medieval field system. The farmstead enclosure is bounded by a ditch with
inner and outer earth and stone banks on the south and west sides; the inner
bank continues around much of the north side but has been heavily disturbed by
later activity at the north east corner. On the east side traces of a low bank
above the steep declivity to Hayber Beck survive. There is an entrance through
the inner bank just north of the mid-point on the western side and an entrance
through the outer bank at the south western corner. A circular scooped
depression against the inner side of the boundary bank on the enclosure's
northern side marks the site of the hut circle in which the occupants lived,
while two other hut circles 8m-10m diameter with walls surviving up to 0.3m
high, are located in the north western part of the enclosure. The medieval
field system, although partially damaged by later activity, is contained
within the earlier farmstead enclosure and survives as a line of three small
enclosures situated at the eastern and highest end of the farmstead enclosure.
A stone bank separates these three small enclosures from a short length of
trackway or hollow way running parallel to the east. In the south western part
of the farmstead enclosure there are remains of the turf-covered wall footings
of two small fields associated with the medieval field system. Both of these
fields utilised in part the earlier enclosure's banks within their own
All modern field boundaries are excluded from the scheduling, although the
ground beneath these features is included.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

In Cumbria and Northumberland several distinctive types of native settlements
dating to the Roman period have been identified. The majority were small, non-
defensive, enclosed homesteads or farms. In many areas they were of stone
construction, although in the coastal lowlands timber-built variants were also
common. In much of Northumberland, especially in the Cheviots, the enclosures
were curvilinear in form. Further south a rectangular form was more common.
Elsewhere, especially near the Scottish border, another type occurs where the
settlement enclosure was `scooped' into the hillslope. Frequently the
enclosures reveal a regularity and similarity of internal layout. The standard
layout included one or more stone round-houses situated towards the rear of
the enclosure, facing the single entranceway. In front of the houses were
pathways and small enclosed yards. Homesteads normally had only one or two
houses, but larger enclosures could contain as many as six. At some sites the
settlement appears to have grown, often with houses spilling out of the main
enclosure and clustered around it. At these sites up to 30 houses may be
found. In the Cumbrian uplands the settlements were of less regimented form
and unenclosed clusters of houses of broadly contemporary date are also known.
These homesteads were being constructed and used by non-Roman natives
throughout the period of the Roman occupation. Their origins lie in settlement
forms developed before the arrival of the Romans. These homesteads are common
throughout the uplands where they frequently survive as well-preserved
earthworks. In lowland coastal areas they were also originally common,
although there they can frequently only be located through aerial photography.
All homestead sites which survive substantially intact will normally be
identified as nationally important.

The medieval field system lies in the Cumbria-Solway sub-Province of the
Northern and Western Province, an area characterised by dispersed hamlets and
farmsteads, but with some larger nucleated settlements in well-defined
agriculturally favoured areas, established after the Norman Conquest. It
represents the small stock enclosures, garden areas and fields associated with
a dispersed medieval settlement, the precise location of which is now
uncertain due to disturbance caused by military exercises.
Despite impact damage caused by artillery and the digging of foxholes during
military training excercises, the Romano-British farmstead and medieval field
system 100m south west of Bell Nook survive reasonably well. The monument is
one of a number of Romano-British settlements located on the hillslopes of
east Cumbria and will facilitate further study of settlement patterns of this
period in the area. Additionally it is a rare example of the juxtaposition of
a medieval field system within the boundary of an earlier settlement and as
such attests to the reuse of the site.

Source: Historic England


AP No's.CCC2799,29A; 2801,22; 2801,31, Cumbria County Council, Bell Nook, Warcop,
ID 14842, Sainsbury,I.S., IA/RB settlement overlaid by remains of medieval field system, (1975)
ID. 14842, Sainsbury,I.S., IA/RB settlement overlain by remains of medieval field system, (1975)
Site No. 4297, Cumbria County Council, Bell Nook, Warcop, (1985)
SMR No. 4297, Cumbria SMR, Bell Nook, Warcop, (1985)

Source: Historic England

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